John Bloom's picture
06.10.2008 | Comments(7)

Gucci Set Her Free

Tamra Nashman is a Florida-based motivational speaker and Broadway-show-tune singer whose new book, Shoes for the Spirit, uses a single spiked high heel as its logo. (Actually the cover of the book shows a barefoot Tamra trying on shoes from a closet that would be envied by Imelda Marcos.) The book, the companion CD (Songs for the Soul), and her Shoes for the Spirit blog (God deals with insomnia, God deals with psoriasis, God deals with parenting challenges) are the sorts of things we would normally cast into the Door "Lake of Fire" plastic mail bin, to be sold at the next yard sale. What makes Tamra different is that she's promoting her book with a tale of how she escaped from "a fundamentalist religious sect." In case you haven't noticed, "sect " has replaced "cult" as the media buzzword du jour ever since the various denominations practicing polygamy have been in the news. "The particular religious sect I belonged to throughout my childhood and into my early adulthood had a mind-set of control and total manipulation," she says, apparently for the benefit of the media and seminar audiences.

spirit shoes"They abused scripture in order to control and exploit members of their organization. It was particularly calculated against women, as the male leaders felt they would have less issues with lust if the women dressed in an extremely modest way --long skirts, long sleeves, high necks, no pants, no make-up, no jewelry. We couldn't cut or trim our hair. It was a sin to go to movies, no televisions were allowed in the home, and we were required to be at every service the organization planned for its members. Often times revival meetings would go every night of the week for months. We were constantly in fear of going to hell for any and every infraction that didn't line up with the strict by-laws of the church. I didn't see the manipulation until I left that organization at the age of 19, and it took me many years to shake free of the misconceptions and fear. My view of God was skewed and I had no real knowledge of benevolence, or grace."

All right, let's see what we have here: interpreting scripture in ways she didn't agree with, enforcing a dress code, banning some elements of popular culture, and having too many revivals. Could be Amish, could be Bruderhof, could be Orthodox, could be Holiness Church, could be several varieties of Pentecostal. I might even think it was Orthodox Judaism except for the references to"church" and "revival." What I'm wondering is how she managed to "escape" this prison at age 19 and live to blog about her deliriously happy 26-year marriage, her adorable children, her killer wardrobe, her singing career, her dream home in South Florida, and, of course, the ultimate victory over the fundamentalist dress code: her shoe collection. Isn't she afraid the mind-control patriarchs will come back and kidnap her? Doesn't she tremble at night over the possible fate of her Manolo Blahniks?

Chastity Belts Would Be Much Easier

nameFather-Daughter Purity Balls are increasingly popular evangelical events in which teenage girls (and even younger) put on prom gowns and go dancing with their dads, and then the dads make "purity pledges" to protect their daughters' virginity until they're married. Besides the usual dangers of any kind of vow--teenagers who make "abstinence" vows are more likely to have unprotected pre-marital sex than those who do not--this tradition, if carried to its logical conclusion, should lead to a revival of another American tradition: the shotgun wedding.

Lightning Rod Parsley

nameLast week there was a flurry of articles about how you shouldn't vote for McCain because he's too close to Rod Parsley. Although we would never recommend standing close to Rod Parsley, is there really any difference between the 2008 Rod Parsley and the 2006, 2004, 2002, and 2000 Rod Parsley? We're not opposed to making him toxic, but we'd be interested to know which anti-Islamic speech put him over the top this year but failed to move the needle in past elections. In fact, isn't he the guy who supposedly stole Ohio for Bush, or at least collaborated, in 2004? He's always been a meddler in every political race. Meanwhile, John Hagee is becoming increasingly pathetic as he announces that he's anti-Hitler. This endless video-mining and McCain-linking by the Democrats seems a little mean-spirited. So now you have to reject endorsements and money if the endorser or the guy giving you money has at any time in the past said something stupid? When McCain got that Parsley endorsement, he proudly thanked "Ralph Parsley," as is obvious from the ABC News report on this topic, but the gaffe is ignored by the reporter. Don't they listen to things in the booth before they air them? The fact that he didn't know Parsley's name might have some bearing as an indicator of how close they were.


David Williams | 08:25 am on 6/10/2008

For some reason, that Purity Ball picture makes me think of the FLDS. It'

Teddy Bear Mohammed | 09:18 am on 6/10/2008

About "Father-Daughter Purity Balls" Ask daddy if he was a virgin when me was married. Also why not Mother-Son Purity Balls? (Reminds me of a episode of "Arrested Development"

SRebbe | 10:00 am on 6/10/2008

dancing with your dad at your wedding: sweet
dancing with your dad at your prom: bordering on incest

creepy, dude. let her go.........

Droslovinia | 12:00 pm on 6/10/2008

As much as I want to believe that this is true, and common sense tells me that it probably is, do you really have any proof that taking abstinence vows make it more likely that you will not abstain?

"Video-mining" is bad no matter who does it!

And have you checked out Tamara's resume? Wow! Evidently, anyone can become a great spiritual guru with the right publicist. I guess most of us just aren't good-looking enough. Who knew that more piano practice would make me a deeper, more spiritually relevant person? One thing, though, if you're unwilling to name the seminary where you taught, it's probably not a good thing to claim you taught there at all.

Anonymous | 12:39 pm on 6/10/2008

Using the word balls with father daughter purity just doesn't jive with me.

that calvinist doug | 02:28 pm on 6/10/2008

Glad to see your back blogging, John. I was beginning to become fearful those nasty atheists had kidnapped you.

Tamra's a nice, I mean, nice piece on Tamra.

mountainguy | 08:45 pm on 6/10/2008

How ironic: Ms Tamra Nashmann was victim of a sect that forbides woman in lustfully clothes. But take a "walk" on your TV, and you'll see that the most pretty women there have had success because of lustfully clothings.

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